Indianapolis, IN—BAT Engineering’s Alan Mertens and Bruce Ashmore will return to Long Beach this weekend for the 36th running of the Toyota Grand Prix as the two continue conversations with drivers, teams, and owners about what the future of the IZOD IndyCar Series will look like. BAT Engineering has made a proposal to the Indy Racing League for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar design.
The BAT Engineering design, which has been formally accepted by the ICONIC board, brings safety, efficiency, and a focus on developing a new high-technology industry in the Indianapolis area to the forefront of the process.
Ashmore, who won races at Long Beach in various capacities ranging from designer, engineer, and technical director, is looking forward to returning to the SoCal environs and walking the track ahead of the cars taking to the streets this weekend. In addition to round three of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Championship, the event will also feature races from the Firestone Indy Lights, American Le Mans presented by Patron series, Toyota/Celebrity, and World Challenge Series.
“Long Beach is simply a pinnacle event for the IZOD IndyCars,” said Ashmore. “The spectacle and the atmosphere are just fantastic and the track has a little bit of everything. The cars have to make it through what is likely one of the tightest corners in all of motor racing with the Hairpin, and then just seconds later the drivers are flat out along Shoreline Drive. I’m very much looking forward to the weekend.”
Mertens is himself no stranger to the Long Beach, having not only designed the Galmer chassis that won the race in 1992, but also serving as a key part of Al Unser Jr.’s ascendancy as the King of Long Beach as his engineer and race-day strategist. Unser was inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame last year. While the weekend will feature many familiar faces for the two long-time open wheel combatants, the event is hardly one for talking about the past.
“Being at the race is a great way for us to keep the conversation going with everyone who is involved with and has a stake in this process,” said Mertens. “This is a very exciting time for the sport, and of course there is no better place to efficiently get feedback and continue to prepare than at a race meeting. Of course, no one needs any kind of excuse to go to Long Beach!”
That the two accomplished designers are revisiting the site where they staged countless battles through the years reflects the intense passion that is shared as the IZOD IndyCar Series prepares for the next chapter in the sports history.
“I’m hoping Alan will finally tell me what they did to beat us so many times there!” joked Ashmore before boarding for Long Beach.
The 36th running of the Toyota Grand Prix will be carried live on Versus Sunday, April 18 starting at 3:30 PM ET.